Mohsen Abdelmoumen: In your book “Coaching & conflicts”, you talk about the concept of hybrid warfare. Can you explain this concept of hybrid warfare to our readership?
Dr. Leonid Savin: The first known use of the term “hybrid warfare” dated back to 1998 in a paper of Robert Walker titled “Spec Fi: the United States Marine Corps and Special Operations” where the author labeled hybrid war in such manner: ”’Hybrid warfare’ is that which lies in the interstices between special and conventional warfare. This type of warfare possesses characteristics of both the special and conventional realms, and requires an extreme amount of flexibility in order to transition operationally and tactically between the special and conventional arenas”.
Later concept of hybrid war was promoted in the article of James Mattis and Frank Hoffman published in November 2005. 1) Both authors are professional marine officers and James Mattis later served as Secretary of Defense of the U.S. It was short 2 pages texts focused on the experience in Afghanistan and in Iraq where American forces intervened just a few years before. The main narrative was about irregular methods — terrorism, insurgency, unrestricted warfare, guerrilla war, or coercion by narco-criminal groups exploiting loss of control of the failed state. Authors told that these methods are increasing in both scale and sophistication, and will challenge U.S. security interests globally.
Later Frank Hoffman developed this concept in his essay “Conflict in the 21st century: The rise of hybrid wars” published in 2007. 2) The main ideas were instead of separate challengers with fundamentally different approaches (conventional, irregular, or terrorist), there are some competitors who will employ all forms of war and tactics, perhaps simultaneously. Official documents and strategies of the American military used in this work also coined the term “hybrid” and mix of traditional and non-traditional tactics together with simple and sophisticated technologies also mentioned.
Frank Hoffman argued that hybrid threats incorporate a full range of different modes of warfare including conventional capabilities, irregular tactics and formations, terrorist acts including indiscriminate violence and coercion, and criminal disorder. Hybrid Wars can be conducted by both states and a variety of non-state actors.
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U.S. Joint Forces Command adopted the concept of hybrid threats in 2009 and to accent any adversary that simultaneously and adaptively employs a tailored mix of conventional, irregular, terrorism, and criminal means or activities in the operational battlespace. Rather than a single entity, a hybrid threat or challenger may be comprised of a combination of state and non-state actors.
Later in 2014, Hoffman wrote “any adversary that simultaneously employs a tailored mix of conventional weapons, irregular tactics, terrorism, and criminal behavior in the same time and battlespace to obtain their political objectives” and noted that hybrid threats are a construct developed by the Marine Corps a decade ago.
NATO also focused on hybrid threats during the last decade. NATO Review article issued in 2014 states that “hybrid conflicts involve multilayered efforts designed to destabilize a functioning state and polarize its society.”
In my opinion hybrid warfare is an open concept with different elements. Lawfare, for example, is a new aspect of non-kinetic conﬂict aiming at “using law as a weapon to manipulate legal paradigms”.
Haven’t the NGOs and the media, what is called “Soft Power”, become fearsome weapons in these wars that are being waged against the people and in the benefit of the oligarchy that rules the world?
They are and they were active in such way decades ago (including the Cold War era). Not all NGOs and media involved in this process, but mostly powerful western giants such as the National Endowment for Democracy, Republican Institute, Institute of Peace, etc. New institutions like CANVAS or specific groups like White Helmets also are tools of direct or indirect interventions. In most cases, such NGOs or governmental arms are doing justification for political decisions including economic sanctions and military aggressions.
Many billionaires supported efforts of such foundations and have their own ones (like Pierre Omidyar or Rockefeller and Soros families).
The same with the media – the New York Times and Washington Post as well as a coalition of different engaged bloggers and special projects have a very clear political frame. Big media are owned by certain financial groups or corporations. Small media used as swarm tactics for the same goals. More articles/opinions involve an image of people’s interests and democratic choice. But it is very easy to track when news published by an agency or TV and started to spread immediately that reflects synchronized activity directed from one center.
Social nets like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter serve these actions – imposing censorship and bans on alternative points of view and promoting a consensual point of view on how to control communications and news streams.
So we see the effect of a well-organized monopoly whose architects pretend to control and influence the whole world.
Much talks about Georges Soros in the financing of NGOs involved in the color “revolutions” and the “Arab spring”, but you also mention other “philanthropists” businessmen who may be involved in these destabilizations without being known. Don’t you think George Soros is just the tip of the iceberg? Isn’t what’s hidden more frightening still?
George Soros was a pioneer with his Open Society. He is a follower of the ideology proposed by Karl Popper who was critical of the ideas of Plato and many philosophers. Actually Popper’s approach seems very weak. But Soros started to develop his ideas mixed with contemporary politics. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he presented his activity like assistance to peoples of ex-Soviet Republics to build a more prosperous society. In many cases recipients just interested to get his grants and not care about ideas of the open society. They acted like an umbrella organization and provided funds for different reasons.
Then after years his ideas and actions were analyzed carefully and recognized as dangerous for sovereignty and national security in many countries. Even in some EU states, his activity was recognized as illegal.
But his funds are so huge that Soros has a large group of his own agents in the European parliament as well as in governments of many countries.
There are also more persons and organizations doing similar work in many spheres. We can mention Fetullah Gullen from Turkey who builds his own net of influence in Central Asian and Balkanian countries. His adepts infiltrated into governmental structures, big business, and international organizations. He feels comfortable living in the USA and attempts of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to extradite him into Turkey have no results.
Bill Gates with his foundation and projects is another person that needs to be mentioned. Genetically modified insects and special microchips implanted into the human body are two of the most scandalous project of Microsoft with possible global impact.
The list of such persons is very large. From Ukraine and Moldova till offshore islands and Asian-Pacific countries we can find many oligarchs connected with the West and serving as bridges in interests of the West.
Should we analyze their activity under the context of intelligence, influence ops, and national security? I think yes.
Even in the West people start to afraid of such groups and pay attention to the plutocratic insurgency – a new specific term proposed by a military analyst from the US to describe the phenomena when oligarchs can start multilayered conflicts against states and own people. It is very possible that we can face its manifestation just before and during the November elections in the US.
How do you explain the European Union’s hostility towards the Russian Federation and the persistence of sanctions against it?
It is alogical, irrational, and against the natural interests of the European countries. There are two big problems with politicians of EU: 1) inertia facing the US influence and readiness to follow any Washington’s orders; 2) sustainable neoliberal groups with agenda of economic dominance over the people and expansion.
But because of the structural specifics of the EU and decision-making mechanisms, some members of the EU who are critical about these sanctions can’t act unilaterally and need to follow the common agenda.
Another background is history. From a historical point of view, we can mention attempts of European powers to conquest Russia – Napoleon in 19 and Hitler in 20 centuries are just the most significant examples.
We can add the idea of exceptionalism and superiority too. The idea of racism is a European product. Even Karl Marx with his idea of solidarity among the working class around the world told about the necessity to fight against Russia in the case of a German-Russian war. It means nation first, not class!
European integration also needs drivers. Cause nationalism of every country can’t be used for policy of integrity and can lead to contradictions, another element of nationalism is used – external enemy. If we analyze speech and texts of European politicians there are many markers that are used for the Other – Russia, China, Iran, Muslim (Islam) countries including Turkey looking for European Union for decades.
They’ve tried to formulate a different framework for neighbor policy but it seems like a tool for expansion anyway.
Aren’t the current unrest in Belarus targeting Russia? Don’t you think that, here too, there is soft power, media, NGOs, and occult circles at work to destabilize not only Belarus but the Russian Federation?
Any attack on Russian ally (Belarus is a real ally, not a partner, cause we have Union State of Russia and Belarus is an active member of the Eurasian Economic Union as well as CSTO [note: Collective Security Treaty Organization]) is an indirect attack on Russia. All claims of western politicians of not interfering into the affairs of Belarus are hypocritical stances, cause they are openly doing it and interested to undermine the sovereignty of this country.
Poland and Lithuania are principal players for the destabilizing of Belarus. But the US also was involved cause interested to destroy Eurasian Economic Union. Additional roles were taken by the Czech Republic and Ukraine.
In some sense, it was a mistake of president Lukashenko when he gave the green light for pro-Western activity inside his own country. Subversive actions were planned for months and NGO/media activism was sponsored from the West. Now the leadership of Belarus understands his own mistakes. Because of personal charisma and political will as well as the unity of military and security service Lukashenko will not repeat the path of the Viktor Yanukovich who lost Ukraine and went out.
How do you explain the prevailing Sinophobia and Russophobia in decision-making circles in the United States and Europe? Aren’t Westerners still in the Cold War?
A famous proponent of American exceptionalism and imperialism Brooks Adams in his book «The New Empire» issued in 1902 told about the necessity to prevent the creation of any union (links) between Russia, Germany, and… China! Now Russia and China have good ties and see each other as a strategic backyard in possible military conflict with the USA. Let’s imagine what possible to do if Germany will join this “alliance”!
For successful Atlanticist policy Germany should be under strong US control. The rise of pro-American regimes in Central Europe comes from the same logic. Cordon sanitaire needs to separate Germany from Russia if Berlin will run a more pro-continental strategy.
Cold War is an old label, now conditions are different. New terms emerged like Cool war or Cold War-2. But in fact, it is a geopolitical rivalry. The West play game with double standards and hidden bottoms.
How do you explain the fact that NATO is continuing its eastward expansion policy when many Western officials consider it obsolete, President Macron defining this organization as “brain dead”?
Really NATO is a residue of the Cold War era. Macron criticized NATO for many reasons. First of all, there is no real unified policy of security for all members. Terroristic attacks inside NATO countries including France are just one sign of disfunctionalism. Illegal migration is second. Floods of extremists together with asylum seekers and refugees come from many Asian and African countries, not Russia. There was a research analysis where indicated promotion of such migration (to continental European countries) was directed from the UK and USA by some groups (in general it is a kind of pro-Soros policy). Third, there are visible conflicts between the members – Turkey vs Greece is a visible apogee of this trend. Let’s add the dependence of the NATO countries from supplies from the US. And finally – false narratives about the threat from Russia.
Efforts of the EU to create its own army and security institutions also matters.
In one of your very interesting and important articles, you mentioned the presence of the “West Point Mafia” which is linked to the “Silicon Mafia” in the United States. Isn’t the real power in the USA constituted by these two mafias? Under the reign of these two mafias, can we still talk about democracy in the United States?
The military-industrial complex is one of the pillars of the US establishment for decades. Second is the banking system. Silicon mafia seems like a new player with game changer ambitions. West Point mafia is a temporary phenomenon because it reflects the joint efforts of the one group linked by professional ties. But consequences may be fixed for the next generations. Silicon mafia is more flexible, and there are few wings, but all looking for funds of the state and the Pentagon. It is a new type of economy known as zeta-capitalism.
We need to mention lobby institutes in the US to see the whole picture.
But what is the mafia itself? It is self-organized elements of society with a hierarchy system and own laws and customs. Usually, it has a very authoritarian character. If a government or officially elected persons are not able to organize political and economic life in the right way some people will come and impose their own vision of life.
Actually, these terms – West Point mafia and Silicon mafia were proposed by American authors, not myself, that presented social alienation and critical attitude to the government and business community. And the question is who is serving the people if the government became kind of the mafia?
In another of your very informative articles, you mention the omnipresence of neo-Nazi and Satanist groups such as the Order of the 9 Angles, the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set in the US Army and intelligence services. In your opinion, what is the impact of these groups at the level of political decision-making and what is their degree of nuisance, whether at the level of the United States or at the global level?
This situation reflects the erosion of traditional values in the US in general. At least Christian denominations were founders of this country as well as a social base for political stability. Now under the idea of tolerance and freedom of expression some gangs of obscurantists and perverts incorporated into different governmental agencies. Cases with Satanists and occult groups are just the tip of the iceberg. More questions need to be asked especially linked with recent scandals. What religious identity Jeffrey Epstein has been? What agenda developed in different political clubs of the high level? How all symbolism promoted by the Rockefeller group affected on politics and what the meaning exactly they included in the visual part of their own projects? Democracy also means transparency. If the USA pretends to be a democratic country there should be access to the information what happens inside the power system including military and enforcement agencies.
In your opinion, shouldn’t the solution in Libya be political? Doesn’t everyone lose if there is a war?
Yes, of course. It is a very strange war that reminds dirty wars in Africa for resources between mercenaries of Western countries. Nothing good for the Libyan people.
Also, Libya is a good example of the ineffectiveness of the U.N. cause 1) fall of the Gaddafi was after the resolution of the UNSC to impose a blockade around this country and it followed NATO operation and intervention of special forces; 2) no any stabilizing efforts were done by U.N. after the collapse of the Libyan state.
Now Libya becomes a place for a proxy war between other states too. And all-Big powers would like not to take responsibility for it.
Libya has become a sanctuary for jihadists. There are reports of more than 20,000 jihadists that Erdogan transferred from Syria to Libya. Shouldn’t the fight against jihadists in Libya and the Sahel be the priority of all countries?
Jihadists like the problem are a very complex issue. At first, there are different types of militants who proclaim jihadist ideology. Second, they are low qualified personnel but on the other hand, they are useful material for hardline methods ISIS applied in Iraq and Syria. Jihadists may be directed to catch the oil fields or refinery stations. But they can’t do the whole business by itself. Top management needs to be involved. Let’s remember about oil smuggling from Iraq and Syria when transport caravans were gone into Turkey. In Libya, sea routes and tankers are necessary. So there are economic interests behind cheap propaganda and the involvement of special services.
Like I told in the previous answer U.N. is dysfunctional. African states are not powerful enough to prevent the spreading of conflict. But if Western powers not interfere probably there is interest to keep this conflict. This technology is just a political option.
Erdogan uses organizations composed of Algerian traitors who have been directly involved in the Syrian conflict by being with Al-Nosra and Daesh. These organizations are now targeting the Algerian army and Algerian intelligence services. Doesn’t this Trojan horse used by Erdogan to destabilize my country, Algeria, and establish a new Ottoman caliphate threaten to burn down the whole Mediterranean, if not the world? What is the position of the Russian Federation, Algeria’s ally, with regard to Erdogan’s troubled game in Libya?
Russia has a long history of partnership with Algeria. And now we are providing different types of weapons and military instructors for training. But besides attempts of infiltration by Turkish agents there are some home-grown extremists as well as rebel activity of local ethnic groups (amazing). The Spirit of the last civil war also strong enough. In my opinion there should be developed a new road map for the region security. It needs to contain the two-level Mediterranean with the participation of European countries and neutral observers (Russia, China) and a specific Maghreb dimension with a set of solutions rooted in local traditions and cultures. The region is well known home for Sufi traditions and Islam scholarship – both need to be reborn. Jihadism is a derivative of rational and utilitarian elements of Islam like Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia. It has been effective for years because of the illiteracy of people in some countries and money assistance that interpreted as a gift from Allah. Some extremist clerics supported the justification of these ideas.
There are two ways to destroy this filthy triangle. From down – through quality spiritual education, from the top – by state apparatus.
Islamic thought can’t exist in its own sphere only as Russian patriarchal (Orthodox Christian) traditions can’t be isolated from the world too. Polylogue should be implemented on a high diplomatic level. Values first, then interests.
Anyway, Russia may be more involved in the sense of mutual cooperation. When the Syrian government asked about assistance, Moscow analyzed all risks and challenges then supported officials in Damascus. If there is similar interest from the Algerian government, Russia should be officially invited.
Speaking about the neo-ottoman ambitions of Turkey it is a double-edged sword. Ankara interested to fill any political vacuum around, especially on territories of the ex-Ottoman empire. But there is domestic resistance from pro-western and liberal groups till Kurdish militancy. There is a risk of overstretching for Turkey. Now Turkey faces one crisis more around the Isaeli-Palestinian question and the decision of the UAE to recognize Israel. The USA is behind Dubai and Tel-Aviv deal that means more pressure on Turkey and its regional ally Qatar. Egypt also rejects the ambitions of Turkey and suppresses Muslim brotherhood inside the country that is a source of regional jihadism too. Tensions are growing…
The Covid-19 crisis showed the bankruptcy of the capitalist system with the shutdown of the economy, the lack of medical equipment due to the relocation of factories and the deindustrialization of capitalist countries, the saturation of the hospital system, amateurism, and the mediocrity of Western governments, etc. Don’t you think that one of the major lessons of the Covid-19 crisis is that the capitalist system must be overtaken?
Covid-19 like conflict was a good test to see the effectiveness of the different nations and types of governance. But some companies exploited Covid crisis for promoting their own business and make more profit (like Amazon for example). On other hand there was the opinion that lockdown was just a game and no pandemic, most mortal cases being consequences of vaccinations that organized before and mostly targeted against old people cause they have low immunity.
In my opinion, Covid has metaphysical dimensions too. It reminds us that still so much unknown around.
If we focus on diseases and viruses this file is multilayered and interconnected. We kill one type of virus by medical means and forget that this type of virus is the enemy of other types of viruses, spreading fast when there is no natural resistance. The medical industry (especially the hi-tech segment) also have some impact on the immunity of mankind.
But a clear lesson was that people in all countries are strongly against manipulations, organized under the umbrella of medical limits or necessary quarantine.
And Covid-19 was the failure of WHO too. It is the reason why Donald Trump made the decision to leave the organization. And, yes, it is the failure of capitalism too. Because capitalism promised a safe benevolent society. In reality, developed countries were very vulnerable and can’t prevent the spreading of diseases and mortal cases. Do people ask who will care about us if the state healthcare system cannot? I know that in many European countries censorship on media was imposed – what to write and not to write about the pandemic. It seems like a variation of Orwell’s 1984.
We will see more political games in near future. Recent sanctions (once more) against a Russian company that developed a vaccine against coronavirus is just one element in this war by other means.
You are the head of the administration of the international Eurasian movement and a member of the military-scientific society of the Russian Ministry of Defense. You are a theorist of Eurasia. How do you see the world and what is the role of the international Eurasian movement?
First of all, our Movement is proponent of the multipolar world order. It means another global political system. We are developing theories rooted in historical, cultural, and religious traditions to justify this idea. Professor Dugin proposed 4th political theory that used the concept of DaSein from Martin Heidegger’s philosophy. Personally I proposed the theory of political sustainability described in my book “Ordo Pluriversalis: The End of Pax Americana and the Rise of Multipolarity”.
We are promoting non-western theories of international relations too. Colleagues from the Department of theory and history of the international relations of the RUDN University (note: Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia) doing this work too.
We have many contacts in the world and people who reject predatory neoliberalism support our ideas.
There may be many forms and practical decisions for the unique governance systems in different parts of the world for different ethnic groups and followers of many religions. Liberal democracy and parliament type is not a panacea. Ecology and environmental activism also may be analyzed from different points of view than proposed last decades by Western mentality under the label of Greenpeace and similar organizations. It is very important to focus on the issues, not like customers, but from the position of whole being, eternity, and freedom – such aspects are essentials for multipolar and polycentric outlook.
And reorganization of the world system itself is a very difficult and complex path. There are still many prejudices and vestiges that affected our conscience. De-Westernization of minds needs to be done forward before discussions of new projects. Actually, there were many attempts and we can use some fruits of non-Western thinkers for the deconstruction of the false building of Enlightenment. Moroccan philosopher Muhammad Abed Al-Jabiri proposed his own vision in the context of the Muslim world. His idea of the al-’akl al-arabiyya is just a step to rethink the heredity of Western philosophy. Spiritual founder of Pakistan Muhammad Iqbal also proposed an active way for everyday participation in political life. His concept of khoudi is very promising. Let’s talk about Tao in politics, the re-developing of pre-Colombian philosophy in Latin America, African authentic practices, and nomadic experience. Orthodox Christian saints can be a good guide for the understanding of the current crisis. As well as classical Russian thinkers from Fiodor Dostoevskiy till Petr Savitskiy (one of the founders of the classical Eurasian movement) are useful for the theoretical start.
In the end it is not that we want to destroy the West. We are interested to help the West to reopen itself, to clear it from destructive ideas, and to follow own teleology without pretending to be universal pattern with necessary values that became real anti-values under postmodern illusory marvel.
Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen
Who is Dr. Leonid Savin?
Leonid Savin is a geopolitical analyst, Chief editor of Geopolitica.ru (from 2008), founder and chief editor of the Journal of Eurasian Affairs (eurasianaffairs.net); head of the administration of International “Eurasian Movement”. Former Chief Editor of Katehon site and magazine (2015 – 2017).
Director of the Foundation of monitoring and forecasting of development for the cultural-territorial spaces (FMPRKTP).
Member of the Military-scientific society of the Ministry of Defense of Russia.
Author of numerous books on geopolitics, conflicts, international relations, and political philosophy issued in Russia, UK, Spain, Iran, Italy, Serbia and Ukraine.